USA: NYC field notes


NYC: TravelEater’s Field Notes

Updated June 4, 2015

This is a really long list … I’ve been collecting this info for 10+ years (and when I started I just printed it out, so the only hyperlinks are those you would REALLY need).

It is organized by neighbourhood, so that wherever you find yourself you’ll have some good food options (and can therefore avoid crap tourist food). Some restos are destinations in and of themselves (but I’ve also included some non-food things to see and do for each neighbourhood).

I update it whenever I hear of anything new (or closing), and do taste tests on my annual-ish trips to the city.

Keep it in your pocket (or your iPhone) and hopefully it will help you find a good meal when you need one, and discover some other interesting stuff along the way (see end of doc for how-to-use).

Please let me know of corrections and new finds.  Other NYC artcles:

LOWER EAST SIDE (Fuzzily bordered…. E Houston to the N, the river to the E, perhaps Fulton to the S and perhaps Essex to the NW and E Broadway to the SW)

• Shopping: shops on Orchard, Stanton, Ludlow. Discount linen shops and culinary landmarks like Russ and Daughters and Yona Shimmel’s Knishes.

• Buranelli Hat Company: 101 Delancey. Huge hat selection.

• BabeLand. 94 Rivington. Hip sex shop. Also 43 Mercer in SoHo and in Brooklyn. Previously Toys in Babeland.

• Kitchen supply row: on the Bowery just N and S of Houston: mostly restaurant supply, but some home items including high‑quality knives.


• Yuji Raman at Whole Foods Bowery, 2nd floor. says their mazemen (brothless) ramen is fantastic. Uses Sun Noodle noodles – bespoke noodles from New Jersey.

• Doughnut Plant: 379 Grand btn Essex and Norfolk, in Chelsea (at the Chelsea Hotel, 220 West 23rd St, btn 7th & 8th Aves.), and now even in Tokyo. A key originator of the gourmet doughnut trend. World-famous organic super flavourful incredible doughnuts (key lime, Godiva chocolate, blueberry, real vanilla, etc). Not to be missed. Also available at Dean & Deluca, but not quite as fresh and fewer flavours. Go early in case of sell-outs.

The General. 199 Bowery. Bakery with doughnuts and sandwiches.

Gus’s Pickles: 85-87 Orchard. Sold out of a barrel on the street. Yum.

• Russ & Daughters (179 E. Houston St., between Allan and Orchard) – food shop with lots of deli type stuff, including several varieties of herring. A Dutchman’s heaven.

• Les Enfants Terribles: 37 Canal Street. Bargain-bistro classics, French-colonial feel, colonial spices. Eg Brazilian seafood-coconut-milk shrimp stew.

• Boca Chica. 13 1st Ave @ 1st St. Inexpensive. Mexican and other southern.

• WD-50. 50 Clinton St between Stanton & Rivington. Chef Wylie Dufresne Innovative menu. His other resto is Alder (157 2nd Ave). I haven’t been to either, but I loved his 51 Clinton Fresh Food (now gone).

FINANCIAL DISTRICT Battery Park, south Manhattan up to a few blocks past City Hall)

There’s not a lot of good eating in this neighbourhood. Find a food truck, Le Pain Quotidien, or eat somewhere else! But here are a few things to see and do in this neighbourhood:

Century 21: 22 Cortlandt St. Discount dept store. Good deals but packed (people and product).

• Amex Office: 3 World Financial Centre, 200 Visey St. Sometimes has art (e.g. Annie Liebovitz) exhibits.

• Ferry to Staten Island: Whitehall St. Free! Get out on the water and see the statue of liberty.

• Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. 30-45 min. Take A or C train to High St station in Brooklyn and walk back to Manhattan.

Wall Street Bath & Spa. 88 Fulton St. Need to relax? Russian, Shvitz and Turkish steamroom/saunas, pools, jacuzzi. Massage, skin treatments, etc available. $32.50 day pass. Similar to Forest Hills one.

CHINATOWN / LITTLE ITALY (bordered, generally, by Centre St to the W, Canal St to the N and blends into the Lower East Side to the S and E).

• Chinatown discount Canal St shopping: best Sundays.

• Sigerson Morrison: 242 Mott. stylish shoes at decent prices. Little Italy.


• Delicatessen. 54 Prince St. Mac & cheese

• Deluxe Food Market: 75 Elizabeth St (also enter on Mott). Food shop.

• Centre Seafood: 206 Centre St btn Hester & Grad. Low prices on lobster and crab.

• Grand Sichuan Chinese: 125 Canal @ Christie.

• Pho Bolsa: 148 Lafayette. Vietnamese, fringes of Chinatown. Pho $5.50

• Pho 89: 89 East Broadway. Cheap prices, fine enough food. Little English.

• Banga Raya: 157 Mott. Cheap Malaysian.

• Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: 65 Bayard St.

• XO Kitchen: 148 Hester, 1 block N of Canal, W of Bowery. Small Chinese. Trendy. 8am‑10pm. Cash only.

• Puglia 189 Hester St (at Mulberry St, Little Italy) 212‑966‑6006.

TriBeCa / NoLita / SoHo (concentrated around Broadway (largely to the west of), below Houston and above Canal)

Kiosk. 95 Spring St. A curated shop. Neat-o everyday objects from around the world; from a new country every few months, and best of previous items. Up 2 flights. Don’t be alarmed by the dark graffitied stairwell.

Sabon. 93 Spring St. (and Greenwich, Upper West and East Sides, 56th Street, Chelsea, Times Square, Columbus Circle). Beautiful bath and body products. Even if you’re not in the market for anything, stop in and go to the back of the shop to wash, scrub and moisturize your hands (free) with their products. An NYC’s visitor’s luxury!

• Sur La Table. 75 Spring St (btn Crosby & Lafayette). 10,000 sq ft. Wonderful kitchen store from Seattle. But can it compare to Zabar’s?

• Zona: 97 Greene St. Original and imaginative house stuff.

• Enchanted Forest: 85 Mercer St. Cool kids stuff.

• APC: 131 Mercer St. Affordable and well-cut clothes.

• Big Drop: 174 Spring St. Little black dresses

• Canal Street Jeans: 504 Broadway. New York’s beloved denim emporium, bargain basement discounts.

• Pearl River Mart: Broadway near Canal (silk PJs, souvenirs)

• Traveller’s Choice: 2 Wooster St. Soho

• Antique Addiction 436 W Broadway (S of Prince) Discount kitchenware.


*** • Uncle Boons. 7 Spring St near Elizabeth St. Home-cooked Thai, grâce à two chefs from Per Se with much experience in Thailand. Recommended: by New York magazine: green mango salad, charred prawns, mieng kim with betal leaves, crab fried rice. Tues-Sunday opening at 5:30. Apps $10-16, mains $20-26.

Dominique Ansel Bakery. 189 Spring St near Thompson St (near 6th Ave). The originator of the cronut (flavour changes monthly; e.g. lemon maple, blackberry, coconut), $5, people line up for them and they sell out early. Try the Dominique’s Kouign Amann (just say “DKA” to order it) – a sweetened caramelly roundish croissant (delicious, but, in my opinion, not worth the $5.25 price tag). Eat lunch in the enclosed back room or garden.

• All Good Things food market. 102 Franklin near Church. 10am – 7pm. many good things Nlue marble ice cream.

• L’Ecole.  462 Broadway.  Restaurant of the NYC International Culinary Centre.  3-course menu $44, 4 course $59.  Grads include Bobby Flay, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne, Angus An of Vancouver’s Maenam.

• Il laboratorio del gelato: Large new location at 188 Ludlow (@ East Houston). Excellent gelato and sorbetto.

Katz’s Deli: 205E Houston. Right across the street from the gelato lab.

• Jack’s Wife Freda. 224 Lafayette near Spring. Finest cheeseburger in SoHo with handcut fries. $14.

The Dutch. 131 Sullivan St near Prince. Excellent pies. Good fries (big plate, eat em fast because they cool down quickly).

• Greenmarket: Petrosino Park (Lafayette Street btn Spring (near Mott) & Kenmare) and at the corner of Downing and Bleecker. Greenmarket “plus” (e.g. local producers of guac, sorbet, plus organic produce).

• Bouley Bakery (upstairs) (130 West Broadway, TriBeCa): same great cooking as Boulay, but tiny, no reservations (often a long line) and better prices (entrees low $20s, superb burger $12).

• Market. Japanese. Watch the action in the open kitchen, sitting upstairs for way cheaper prices than down.

• Rice: 227 Mott (Prince & Spring- Nolita): Tiny well priced resto serving … rice (yes, with veggies, meat and sauces too). Try the Thai black rice – very yummy (you can buy it raw to take home at Whole Foods). Cash only.

• Dean & DeLuca Grocery: 560 Broadway (plus mini-locations everywhere). Gourmet food, cookbooks and kitchen stuff. Good coffee and pastry. Doughnut Plant doughnuts available here. If you’re looking for a rare ingredient, you have a good chance of finding it here (including kaffir limes (not easy to find in the US, or Canada for that matter) and muscovado sugar), but you’ll pay for it.

• N: 33 Crosby St. Tapas, port.

• Temple Bar: 332 Lafayette St. Dark velvet lounge feel. Popcorn. Trademark whiskey sour (lime & OJ).

• Honmura An (ramen noodles) 170 Mercer Street (Houston Street). Good, but haute.

• fresh. 105 Reade St (btn Church and W Bway). Ever-changing menu. American seafood.

• Eastanah. 212 Lafayette (btn Broome and Spring). Indonesian/Malaysian.

• Woo Lae Oak. 148 Mercer (btn Prince and Houston). Creative Korean, grill your own.

• Lupa: 170 Thompson St, Loud, crowded, inexpensive Italian.

• Once Upon A Tart: 135 Sullivan btn Houston & Prince.

• Mercer Hotel: great atmosphere for drinks or dinner.

• Charlie Bird.  5 King (at 6th Ave and W Houston).  Italian-ish.  Mijune Pak recommends: live Diver scallops with brown butter and garlic chives, Tuscan chicken liver w balsamic raisins, capers, and walnuts, and Farro Salad.

SoHo Galleries:

• 560 Broadway (@ Prince): Edward Carter (best photos – but closed now… keep checking for a re-opening!); Canin-Morris; Stanley-Wise (6th flr); Janet Borden (6th flr).

• Leica (photos): Broadway

• Witkin: 415 Broadway btn Prince & Spring; 4th flr.

WEST VILLAGE (technically W of 5th Ave, S of 14th, N of Houston, all the way west to the river. But some stuff listed below might be in east village, when it is really west, etc… that’s what happens when you don’t pay for a guidebook!)

• Bleecker St shopping hrs: noon – 8 pm

• *** Three Lives & Company bookstore. 154 W 10th St. Carry what they think is special.

• Sheridan Square: heart of the village. (@ Christopher St). Many riots here, incl Stonewall. Halloween parade.

• Washington Square Park: chess, musicians, people watching.

• Shakespeare & Co: 716 Broadway. Great selection, open late.

• Village Vanguard: 178 7th Ave S. Many famous jazz acts have been here. Get there an hour before early set.

• James Perse clothes. Women’s @ 411 Bleecker, men’s at 361. Luxury line, soft colours and fibres, relaxed fit.

• Verve Overstock. 353 Bleecker. Verve shoes and accessories. 338 Bleecker. Independent, new designers, reasonable prices.

• Nova Ice. 265 Bleecker. Clothes.


Fiore’s Pizza. 165 Bleecker near Thompson St. Slices $2.50. Strict pizza rules posted, although not strictly enforced. A good slice of pizza that is heated up for you. Well worth the $2.50 if you’re nearby and hungry, but don’t go out of your way for it.

• *** Numero 28 Pizzeria Romana. Roman style pizza, artichoke particularly good. Four locations: 28 Carmine (West Village), 176 Second Ave (East Village), 1431 First Ave (Upper East Side), 660 Amsterdam Ave (Upper West Side).

Dos Toros Taqueria. 4 locations: West Village (11 Carmine btn Bleecker & 6th Ave), Union Square (137 4th Ave btn 13&14th Sts), Upper East Side (1111 Lex btn 77&78th Sts), Williamsburg (189 Bedford Ave btn North 6th&7th Sts). San Francisco style tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. Carne asada (grilled steak) taco is piled high with tasty steak, veg, and delicious sauces ($4.13).

GROM. 233 Bleecker. Italian artisinal gelato now available in the US (my 2nd favourite in all of Italy). Also near Columbus Circle (2165 Broadway). And they serve thick hot chocolate too (but not in the summer).

Molly’s Cupcakes. 228 Bleecker St. For cupcakes, these are very good. Berry had a nice blueberry and raspberry real fruit filling, and fresh berries on top. But, they’re just cupcakes – no intense flavour pop like you get with a great doughnut or piece of pie. Molly’s were voted one on the top ten cupcakes in the US.

• Cabrito. 50 Carmine @ Bedford. Tacos ($4-6) and enchiladas ($14) delicious and carefully made.

• Magnolia Bakery: 401 Bleeker @ 11th. Famous cupcakes. Open to 11 pm every night.

• Lilac Chocolates: 120 Christopher St

• Murray’s Cheese Shop: 254 Bleeker St. (btn 6th & 7th). Excellent for Americans, and still good for Canadians (although nothing compares to Montreal’s Fromagerie Hamel). Nigella shops here. Note that raw milk cheese is illegal in the US.

• Po: 31 Cornelia St. Homemade Italian. Not cheap, but not overpriced. Truly excellent food. Mario Batali’s. Amex or cash only. Resos recommended 212-645-2189.

• Otto Enoteca Pizzeria. 1 5th Ave, near Washington Square. Mario Battali’s. No reservation for less than 6 people, so get there early or wait. Family-oriented. Olive oil gelato for dessert. Also watch for the gelato cart in Washington Square.

• A Salt And Battery: 112 Greenwich Ave. Fish and chips. Best in Manhattan.

• Corner Bistro: 331 W. Fourth St. Burgers. New York institution. Dark, grungy, loud. Paper plates. Packed.

• Café Asean: 117 W. Tenth St. Asian fusion. Affordable. Garden in back; plenty of locals.

• Inside: 9 Jones St. Whatever is fresh. Mediterranean exoticism to European standards. Trendy. Surprisingly cheap – $25

• Isle. 282 Bleeker St. Thai “home cooking”. I’ve just looked at the menu – good prices, especially for Thai, and in NYC.

• Lemongrass Grill: Bleeker & 7th Ave; also University Ave by 12th St. Thai. Box lunch special ($7). Good prices. Also in Upper West Side and Brooklyn.

• Elephant and Castle: 68 Greenwich Ave. Best for brunch; also has lunch and snacks. Modest prices.

John’s Pizzeria: 278 Bleeker. Also near Times Square.

• Bar Pitti: 368 6 Ave. Tuscan; under $20.

• La Lanterna di Vittoria: 129 MacDougal. Coffeehouse with decadent desserts. Open until 4 am.

• Agave. 140 7th Ave S @ Charles St (near Sheridan Sq). Innovative southwestern food. Brunch, lunch (prix-fixe $12.95 incl margarita), dinner.

• Perry St. 176 Perry Street @ West Street. (212) 352-1900. Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s. Northernmost Richard Meier tower overlooking the West Side Highway. Appetizer menu.

• Graffiti Food & Wine. 224 E 10th St. Global bistro comfort food. Dessert-oriented. Chef is former pastry chef.

GREENWICH VILLAGE & THE EAST VILLAGE (east of the West Village, as described above)

• Shopping: Intriguing shops in the blocks of 7th through 9th Streets between Third Avenue and Tompkins Square Park. The area is most easily accessible from the N, R or 6 subway to Astor Place.

• Broadway Panhandler: 65 East 8th St (@ Broadway). Moved from SoHo, and Broome. Baking and cooking supplies. Prices lower than retail. A warren of industrial racks with more than 15,000 items. Often discounts.

• Jivamukti Yoga Centre. 841 Broadway @ 13th. Yoga shop, big gift store, trendy.


• Tuck Shop. 115 Saint Marks Place (between 1st Ave and Ave A, near Tompkins Square Park). Also Chelsea Market (between 15th and 16th St); 68 Street and 1st Street (between 1st and 2nd Ave). Aussie pies ($6), traditional plus mac & cheese pie, Thai green chook curry pie; rolls, breakfast, Aussie lamingtons ($3) for dessert, Aussie beers ($5) and homemade sodas ($3). Packed Friday and Saturday nights.

• *** Numero 28 Pizzeria Romana. Roman style pizza, artichoke particularly good. Four locations: 28 Carmine (West Village), 176 Second Ave (East Village), 1431 First Ave (Upper East Side), 660 Amsterdam Ave (Upper West Side).

Momofuku :163 First Avenue (10th Street). Stunning noodles and other Asian treats. Don’t miss the buns (love the mushroom ones) or the ramen. Some dishes changes regularly with the season and what is available (e.g. summer’s salad of heirloom tomato, watermelon, cantaloupe, crab and avocado; grilled corn). Save room for the soft-serve ice cream of the day. Also Ssäm Bar, Ko, Má Pêche, and several Milk Bar locations.

• Yolato. Frozen yogurt gelato combo. Greenwich Village at 120 Macdougal Street (Bleecker Street). 2nd location Upper West Side 2286 Broadway (82nd Street). Plus 5 more (Chelsea, East Village, Union Square, Carroll Gardens, in Empire State Building).

Sticky’s Finger Joint. 31 W 8th St near Macdougal. Gourmet free range chicken fingers. Crunchy (fried) are better than naked (grilled). 3 fingers, slaw, 2 sauces & green beans: $10. A couple seats only, but you can also eat in the nearby park.

Chikalicious. 203 AND 204 10th St, between 1st and 2nd, near Astor Place subway stop. Tiny dessert destination. Opens 7 am for coffee, ice cream, cookies, cakes, shave ice, etc etc etc. Plus, after 1:00: $16 for an amuse, dessert of choice and petit fours. Optional wine pairings too.
Chikalicious has a variation on the cronut – the doughssant (which is a better name, I think). It comes in 5 flavours: crème brûlée, Meyer lemon, chocolate, caramel and plain. I had the crème brûlée, and it was excellent, although I don’t think cream-filled croissant doughnuts are my thing.

• Abraco Espresso. 86 E 7th St. Among NYC’s finest espresso and drip coffee, and great prices. Small menu eg frittata ($4), French toast ($3).

• Home (resto). 20 Cornelia St, between Bleecker & W 4th. Moderate.

• SEA Bistro. 75 2nd Ave. East Village. Thai, apps from $3 main from $8.

• Lil’ Frankies. 19 1st Ave East Village. Authentic Italian, laidback service. Good prices.

• Ninth Street Espresso. 700 E 9th St (@Avenue C. Artisnal coffee.

• Australian Homemade Ice Cream and Chocolates: 115 St Marks Place. Incredibly rich ice creams.

• Sundaes and cones. 95 E 10th St. Ice cream (surprised?). Nice range of flavours from classics to innovative.

• Yokucho Village: 8 Stuyvesant St @ 9th. Japanese – Korean BBQ.

• Holy Basil: 149 Second Ave. Second‑story. Excellent Thai.

• La Nacional: 210 First Ave. Cuban; 5 tables, 8 stools. $5 lunch meal (set), $9 dinner.

• Pommes Frites: 123 2nd Ave.

• Soba-Yat: 229 E 9th St. Japanese noodles.

• Boca Chica 13 1st Ave (at 1st St). Inexpensive.

• Xunta: 174 1st Ave. Tapas.

• Merque: 15 E 12 St. Pastry. (West Village?)

• Veniero’s: 342 E 11th St. Italian pastry by the pound. (West Village?)

• First, 87 1st Ave (btn 5th & 6th Sts) 212‑674‑3823. Moderate.

• Bereket Turkish Kebab House: 187 E Houston @ Orchard. Open 24 hrs. $5 kebab sandwich

• EN Japanese Brasserie. West Village. 435 Hudson at Leroy. Fancy Japanese comfort food, NY Times says “gentle price points” (but not really from a Canadian’s perspective…). Chris’ favourite.

• *** Bao Noodles: 391 Second Avenue, near 22nd St.; “Cut-rate spinoff of Alphabet City’s Bao 111 specializes in the homestyle noodles, salads, and stir-fries of chef-partner Michael Huynh’s Saigon youth”. Southeast Asian comfort food. Good prices.

• S’MAC (Sarita’s Mac & Cheese). 345 E 12th St. Also in Murray Hill. Mac and cheese baked in the pan. Recommended by Ellen and her three kids.

• Ramen noodle restos, recommended by Chris the ramen expert:
– Minca: 536 East Fifth Street
– Rai Rai Ken: 214 East 10th Street.
– Ippudo NY. 65 4th Ave @ 9th St. “Tonkotsu raman, made with pork – incredibly rich, perfectly cooked”. Great prices.

• Gottino. 52 Greenwich Ave @ Charles. Wine bar with great chef and great prices.

• The Redhead. 349 E 13th St @ 1st Ave. Serious cooking with great prices. Rec: soft pretzel w Texas sausages $8, pecan sandies w butterscoth pudding $6, buttermilk fried chicken & best ever biscuits $17.

• Terroir. 413 E 12th St @ 1st Ave. Wine bar with great food and great prices. Steak and sausages highlights.

GRAMERCY / FLATIRON DISTRICT / UNION SQUARE (Best restos here!) (23rd St; hard to define, situated between Union Square and Gramercy on the east, and Chelsea on the west; loosely between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, from 14th to 23rd Street.)

ABC Carpet & Home 888 Broadway, N of Union Square (10 flrs). At Christmas-time, go in to check out the real Father Christmas.

• Fish’s Eddy 889 Broadway @ 19th St. Kitchen stuff, “sturdy ware”.

• The Strand Bookstore: 828 Broadway @ 12th. 18 miles of books! Some of the best prices in NYC. Thoughtful selections on tables throughout.

• Restoration Hardware: across from Gramercy Park (and other locations throughout Manhattan). Nice bathrooms in the basement!

• Beauty Bar. 231 E 14th st. Chain. $10 buys you a manicure and a drink. Walk-ins. Often have to wait (and they encourage you to buy more drinks ($5)). Bartender, DJ.

• Plants and flowers: 6th Ave bn W20-29 Sts.


Eataly. 200 5th Ave @ 23rd St. The Italian food mecca finally on North American soil. Groceries; bread, gelato, pizza, panini, coffee etc. counters (7 cafes/restaurants); rare cheeses; 10,000 bottle wine shop; housewares. Also 2 travel agencies to book tasting tours in Italy. Gigantic. Owned by Mario Batali, Lidia & Joe Bastianich (Falidia etc fame), and Italian founder Oscar Farinetti. 10am-11pm.

• *** Kalustyan’s. 123 Lexington @ 28th. Speciality supermarket. 139 kinds of salt. Saffron $14.99/g. Spices, tea. Also cafe. Technically in Murray Hill.

• The Raines Law Room.  48 W 17th St.  A secret-y speakeasy in a basement.  You get a call from a private number when yor table is ready.  Good cocktails.

• Cheyenne Diner. 411 9th Ave west of Madison Square Park.

• Café Grumpy. Serious artisnal coffee. 224 W 20th St btn 7th & 8th Ave.

Shake Shack: SE corner Madison Sq Park (Bway/Madison – 23/26 St.) (The original, plus many many other locations). Danny Meyer’s. Top quality ingredients turned into burgers, hot dogs, fries, premium soft serve treats (concretes!), real lemonade, etc. to eat in the park. In August 2013 they debuted new and even better fries at the Upper East Side location, and they’ll soon be everywhere. Licensed. Busy, so go at an off-hour (check their web cam for line length). I challenge you: eat at 3 Danny Meyer restos in one day (I’ve done it … #HappyDay).

• Union Square Café: 21 E 16th. Danny Meyer’s best. Yes, a bit pricey, but some of the best food you’ll ever eat (and the portions are way big). Can be hard to get reservations, but you should try. Or go for lunch (after 1:30) and sit at the bar. Essentials – bar nuts, calamari, banana tart, ahi tuna, scalloped potatoes….. Seasonal menu (Amer/Ital/French). Not to be missed.

• 11 Madison Park: 11 Madison Ave (24th Street) (212) 889-0905. Originally a Danny Meyer. Beautiful but pricey resto in old bank. Incredible food. Hope you get the truffled potatoes! 4 tasting menus ($69-115) have replaced the mix of à la carte and tasting options. Sit at one of the tables near the bar, now the only seats where you can order à la carte from the main menu or from the short “wine bar” menu. Lounge does not take reservations (but you can call to see if there is a wait). Voted one of the world’s 50 best restos.

Maialino at Gramercy Park. 2 Lexington Avenue. 2009 Danny Meyer resto, name means “little pig”. His version of a Roman trattoria. Delicious caramel brioche in the mornings. See my Sweets of New York article

• City Bakery: 3 W 18th St (btn 5th & 6th) (new location). Fabulous tarts (lemon with berries on top … oh my!). Winter cocoa festival (they sell cocoa, cold, in summer too, and it smells heavenly). Home-made marshmallows. And you can sneak in and use the bathroom at the back without buying anything ….

Dos Toros Taqueria. 4 locations: West Village (11 Carmine btn Bleecker & 6th Ave), Union Square (137 4th Ave btn 13&14th Sts), Upper East Side (1111 Lex btn 77&78th Sts), Williamsburg (189 Bedford Ave btn North 6th&7th Sts). San Francisco style tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. Carne asada (grilled steak) taco is piled high with tasty steak, veg, and delicious sauces ($4.13).

• Cupcake Cafe. Cupcakes that look AND taste good. 31 18th St, near City Bakery.

Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man. 841 Broadway (@13th St). Resto and retail for pastry, candy, cocoa, baking chocolate, etc. I didn’t think I would like this as it looks like a tourist trap. But I am now craving the dark Italian hot chocolate I got to take out. Everything you imagined hot chocolate should be when you were a kid, before someone served it to you and you were disappointed. Also have a better version of fizzing chocolate than the Harry Potter Fizzing Whizbees. 2nd store at 141 2nd Ave @ 9th.

• Chocolat Michel Cluizel. Hot chocolate desserts. First floor.

• Republic: 37 Union Square West. Noodles. Communal tables. Crowded, but yummy, cheap and quick service.

• L’Express. 249 Park Ave South (Gramercy Park). Open 24/7. Steak frites, burgers, excellent crème brûlée.

• Gramercy Tavern: 42 E 20th St. Reservations for main resto, Tavern Room is less expensive. Excellent desserts. Another Danny Meyer.

• Craft Bar (resto): 41 E 19th St. Dinner for $60.

• Prune. 54 21st St. East of Soho. Chef / owner Gabrielle Hamilton is also an excellent author.

• Cookshop. Not bad lunch. 156 10th Ave W, below 23rd St.

• Trader Joe’s. Very crowded, but the line moves efficiently. Usually free samples. Well-priced gourmet grocery goodies – famous for salsa, trail mix, nuts for your coffee table, etc. 3 locations: UWS (2073 Broadway), Union Square (142 E 14th St), Flatiron (675 6th Ave).

• Gascogne. 158 8th Ave, btn 17th & 18th Sts. Moderate.

• ABC Kitchen. 35 E 18th St near Broadway. Weekend brunch doughnuts.

CHELSEA & THE GARMENT DISTRICT (Approx 5th – 10th Ave btn 27 and 37 St)

The Chelsea Market. West. 75 9th Ave (& at 10th) between 15 &16th Sts. Take the L train and walk 2 blocks. Food, groceries, flowers, and home of the Food Network. In the old Nabisco factory where the Oreo cookie was invented. 7:00 am – 9 pm (8 pm wknds). See below for where to eat.

• Empire State Building: East-ish. 350 5th Ave. Expensive and crowded. But if you have a City Pass don’t skip it.

• Macy’s: “world’s biggest store”. Don’t miss the Easter flower display.

• B&H: 34th & 9th. Mecca for camera enthusiasts. Closed all Jewish holidays including Saturdays. Always always always check the website for hours before you go. Most staff, in the dress of Hasidic Jews, are very friendly to bored spouses.

• *** Aperture Foundation photo gallery. 547 W 27th St.


• Crazy Bananas. 6E 32 St btn 5th&Madison. Ice cream.

• Inside the Chelsea Market. While it is full of tourists, there’s some good eating here.
Doughnuttery. 6 mini doughnuts for $6. They are served warm, and then tossed in different flavoured sugars. I can’t say I was all that impressed, but if you like warm mini doughnuts, they are a step above the kind you get at the fair.
Hybird. Questlove’s resto serving only: fried chicken drumsticks (2 for $6, big, pretty good), slushies (a tart & delicious honey lemon ginger, and a watermelon chili), Chinese pot stickers and biscuits. I’ve heard they serve cupcakes too, but didn’t see any on the menu in 2 visits.
People’s Pops. Delicious and refreshing frozen fruit bars.
Chelsea Thai. Great selection of Thai dishes that are well-made, -flavoured and -spiced. Big portions, two can probably share, especially if you’re doing other sampling.
– One Lucky Duck. Raw, vegan and organic juices, sweets, salads and sandwiches. AND they’ll kindly refill your water bottle with their “Tensui triple filtration” water.
– Several food shops with interesting treats to take home or as gifts.

Doughnut Plant. 379 Grand btn Essex and Norfolk, in Chelsea (at the Chelsea Hotel, 220 West 23rd St, btwn 7th & 8th Aves.), and now even in Tokyo. A key originator of the gourmet doughnut trend. World-famous organic super flavourful incredible doughnuts (key lime, Godiva chocolate, blueberry, real vanilla, etc). Not to be missed. Also available at Dean & Deluca, but not quite as fresh and fewer flavours. Go early in case of sell-outs.

• Kum Gang San. 49 W 32nd (btn Bway & 5th Ave). Reasonably priced Korean.

• Blue Smoke. 116 E 27th St between Park & Lex BBQ. Plus bake shop. Another Danny Meyer.

• Kang Suh: 1250 Bway, at 32nd. Korean barbeque, and a favourite of many.

• *** Del Posto. 85 10th Ave (16th Street), Chelsea. Resto, lounge (to avoid a reservation and bigger time and $ commitment). Batali-Bastianich. Separate menu in a 30-seat lounger (“enotec”). Accepts same day reservations only. Have $41 4-course tasting menu (compare with $110 in restaurant)

• Pop Burger: 58-60 9th Ave. Mini burgers. Alton Brown’s fave. Also in Midtown, near 5th Ave, at 14 E 58th St.

• Chat n’ chew. 10 E 16 St btn th Ave and Union Sq West. Lunch & dinner. Comfort cuisine, famous for mac & cheese, mashed potatoes. Owner is Andrew Silverman, with empire of global eateries like Steak Frites (across the street) and Sushi Samba. Good for kids.

• Chelsea: 229 9th Ave @ 24 St.

• Empire Diner: 210 10th Ave. Classic 1929 American diner.

• Koreatown: 32nd St btn 5th Ave & Broadway. Great cheap lunch specials and a few good deals at dinner.

• Les Halles: East. 411 Park Ave South at 28th St. French brasserie. Home base of “chef-at-large” Tony Bourdain. Butcher shop on site. Don’t bother with the salads. Best onion soup, and steak bearnaise we’ve ever tasted. Awesome crème brûlée. Also in financial district at 15 John St.

• Gascogne 158 8th Ave (btn 17th & 18th sts) 212‑675‑6564. Moderate.

• Nooch (Ramen Noodles): 143 Eighth Avenue (17th Street).

Sarabeth’s: in Chelsea, 75 Ninth Ave. Breakfast. Plus great muffins and jams. 4 locations incl Upper West Side (the original).

• Better Burger: 178 8th Ave @ 19th St. Also in Theatre district.

• Gam Mee Ok. 43 W 32nd St. Open until 6am. Korean.

MEATPACKING DISTRICT (Small area, far west of Manhattan, just above Greenwich Village and below Flatiron District).

• Bodum: 413-415 W14 St. Cheap, chic home goods.

• Karkala: 68 Gansevoort. House stuff.

• Auto: 805 Washington.

• New York Ayurveda. 154 W 14th St (far east of Meatpacking District). Ayurvedic massage (dry exfoliation, hot oil massage Thai style special means 40 mins for $27.09, rather than $78.


Fatty Crab, 643 Hudson Street (Horatio Street). Malaysian food, NY Times rec. Mango and papaya salad is straight out of Thailand. The chili crab is delicious, although messy to eat. Steamed buns are better at Momofuku. I wish I’d been hungry enough to try the dark chocolate Fatty Bar (with roasted almonds, chili, and Maldon salt). No reservations accepted.

• Pastis. 9 Ninth Ave (at W 12th). Provencal French bistro, with celeb-spotting. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner (to midnight), late night supper (to 2/2:30). Walk-ins encouraged. Reasonably priced.

• *** Standard Grill (in hotel) 848 Washington St @ W 13th St. Good resto, and warm doughnuts made on the spot.

HELL’S KITCHEN (West of theatre district to the Hudson River)

• Intrepid Sea Air Space museum: Pier 86 W 46th St. Kind of neat to go inside a nuclear submarine and the Concord, but this is not a quality museum, at least to Canadian standards. If you can go for free with the City Pass, it is a bit more palatable.

• CircleLine Cruises. Not bad on a hot day if you want to see Manhattan. I’m not sure I’d pay for it, but it is free with your City Pass.


• Pam Real Thai. 404 W 49th (btn 9th & 10th). Authentic (and reasonably priced) Thai (rare in NYC). No real atmosphere. Chris says is the best in the city. Near to Theatre District.

• Gazala Place. 709 9th Ave @ 49th. Roster of breads, topped with spice, cheese, meat. Puff pastry-like burekas. Best Druse cooking in NYC.

• Pam Real Thai Encore, 402 West 47th Street at Ninth Avenue, opened spring 2006, larger and with a larger menu.

• Tiny Thai: 693 9 Ave (btn 47th and 48th). Well-priced Thai, pop-art style.

• Chimichurri Grill. 606 9th Ave btn 43 and 44 sts. Argentinean. Cozy, reasonably priced. Meat!

• Ruby et Violette bakery: 457 West 50th St at 10th Ave. Check website for hours (closed Mondays, sometimes summer weekends). Every flavour of chocolate chip cookie you can imagine. Ships everywhere. The “perfect” recipe is the basis for my choc chip cookies … although many claim mine are better. Grab a few and eat them at the nearby urban park (with fountain) between 49th & 50th and 8th & 9th.

• **** Little Pie Company. 424 W 43 St @ 9th. Sour cream apple walnut pie. $6.

• Cupcake Cafe. 545 9th Ave @ 41st, near Port Authority. Breakfast, snacks. Homemeade doughnuts, muffins.

• Kyotofu. 705 9th Ave @ 50th St. Japanse inspired. Dessert-focussed.


• Diamond Row: W47th St btn 5th & 6th Aves: wild and woolly displays of salesmanship and temperament. If you want to buy a watch, you can get 30% + off retail at Yaeger Watch, at 578 Fifth Ave (in the SW corner (I think)). Excellent selection, and yes, they are authentic, even at those prices. A real New Yorker would not buy a watch anywhere else.

• Times Square: go at dusk or evening to see the full neon effect. But don’t be a people pylon!

• Gotham Book Mart: 41 W 47 St btn 5-6 Ave.

• TKTS Booth: Broadway at W 47th St in Times Square. Now take credit cards. : buy tickets in advance.


• eatery. 798 Ninth Ave @ approx 53 St. Brunch, lunch, dinner, pre- and post-theatre (make reservations for pre-). American with global influences. Reasonably priced. Open ‘til midnight weeknights, 1:00 weekends. Get your vitamin fix with salted edamame. Fantastic calamari. To-die-for (literally) mac & cheese – order to share ‘cause you’ll never be able to finish it is so rich. No, the person in the washroom beside you can not see you ….

• Becco. 355 W 46th St (9th Ave). Good for post-theatre. Italian. Order off the menu or the prix fixe menu (Caesar salad or roasted veggies, and all-you-can eat of the 3 featured homemade pastas of the day … delicious).

China Grill: Great fusion food, don’t miss the calamari salad (share 1 for lunch at the bar). Don’t be freaked out by the female washroom attendants in the men’s …

• Burger Joint. Behind the curtains in a hidden hall in Parker Meridian lobby. 118 W 57 St btn 6th and 7th. Burgers ($5.50), fries, milkshakes. 11 am – 11:30 pm Mon –Sat. I’ve tried to find it but missed it. Don’t be too shy to look further!

• John’s Pizzeria: 260 W 44 St. Excellent and well-priced pizza. In a beautiful old bank. Also at 278 Bleeker and 408 E 64 St.

• Restaurant Nippon: 155 East 52nd St. Excellent Japanese, soba and ramen etc. Normal enough prices. Canadians impressed by the fact they use Canadian grains, and have prairie pictures on the walls….

Neighbourhood noodle restos, recommended by Chris the ramen expert:
– Soba Nippon:19 West 52nd St. Noodles.
– Onigashima: 43-45 West 55th Street. Good ramen.
– Soba-ya: 229 East Ninth Street. Good ramen. Recommended by Chris the ramen expert.

Donburi-ya: 47th Street (btn Lexington & Third). Some of the best Japanese food in town. E.g. sankandon, a big rice bowl with shrimp and fried pork and eggs for $11. One of Chris’ top picks.

• Lever House. 390 Park (@E53rd st). Seasonal / local innovative. Higher end.

• Better Burger: 587 9th @ 42nd St. Organic burgers, smoothies, baked “fries”. Also in Chelsea, Upper E Side, Murray Hill.

• *** Zip Burger. 300½ East 52nd Street. Tiny two-story building. By Ted Pryor from Les Halles (John St). Veggie, salmon, turkey burgers + the regular kind. Choices of breads, cheeses, toppings and condiments; salads; twice-cooked fries.


International Centre for Photography: 43rd and 6th. Usually has an interesting exhibit. Nice gift shop. Excellent courses.

• New York Pubic Library: 42nd and 5th Ave. Rotating free exhibits on the main floor (usually good, often fantastic), and nice art and architecture inside. Don’t miss the ceiling in the Reading Room. Check out what the lions outside are wearing today. Nice gift shop. Closed Sundays.

• Bryant Park: full of Sept 11 daffodils in the spring. Great place to sit and people watch. Carousel. ‘Wichcraft kiosks the place for snacks.

• Chrysler Building: 405 Lexington. Prettiest tower in Manhattan.

• Grand Central Station: E 42nd St at Park. Crowded, beautiful ceiling, yummy food stores; Oyster Bar; The Campbell Apartment bar. Tours Wednesdays 12:30.

• United Nations: 1st Ave at 46th St. Can see lots without paying for the tour. Great art inside and out.

New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 13 E 37th St 4th flr. 1st treatment free coupon on line. Acupuncture and Chinese herbology school. $35 2h acupuncture.

• Complete Traveller: 199 Madisson @ 35th. S of Grand Central.

Kinokuniya. 1073 6th Ave near Bryant Park. Japanese bookstore and stationary chain.


• If you need good fast food in this (and other) neighbourhoods – try Le Pain Quotidien or Prèt à Manger (e.g. 42nd at 3rd and at 5th on 42nd). Fresh, yummy, and reasonably priced (for NYC).

• Better Burger. 561 3rd Ave @ 37th St (Murray Hill).

• Chikunu (Ramen Noodles) 12 East 44th Street, Fridays and Saturdays.

• Cafe Zaiya. 18 E 41 St. Cheap Japanese.

• ‘Wichcraft in Bryant Park. Try lemonade, good ice cream sandwiches, good quick lunch.


• 5th Ave: window shopping at Tiffany’s, Bergdorf Goodman, FAO Schwartz etc. Entertaining Easter “parade”.

• Rockefeller Centre: ice rink, gardens, xmas tree and crowds.

• St Patrick’s Cathedral: 5th Ave and 50th St: gothic revival. Have a look at the statue of Atlas across the street.

• MoMA: 11 W 53rd St. The new MoMA. Monet’s water lilies; Van Gogh’s starry nights, sculpture garden, my favourite little Picasso (the fat woman), excellent design products, all in a beautiful new building. Danny Meyer does the restaurants (at the bar near the sculpture garden you can sample most of the dishes from the main, pricey, resto for about $15 ea; same chef, Gabriel Kreuther). Yum.

• Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery: 32 E 57 St.

• Lincoln Centre. 64thish and Amsterdam. Atrium box office sells same day tickets at 25-50% discount (2 per person limit). Includes Met Opera, NY Philharmonic, City Opera.

• Bridge Kitchenware: 214 E 52nd St @ 3rd. Chef-geared.

• Bloomingdale’s: 1000 3rd Ave.

• Dylan’s Candy Shop: 1011 3rd Ave. Ralph Lauren’s daughter. Special coloured M&Ms and Skittles and other candies. The music and crowds of pre-teens will drive you nuts. The little chocolate squares with the Dylan’s logo are a good token NYC treat if you’re bringing something back for a group…


Pop Burger: near 5th Ave, at 14 E 58th St. Mini burgers. Alton Brown’s fave. Also in Chelsea, at 58-60 9th Ave.

• Whole Foods. Basement, 1 Columbus Circle. Stop in at the fabulous grocery store for a hot or cold lunch (seating area in the middle, or take it out to the Park, there’s a place to wash your hands at the back of the seating area). Plus buy Meyer lemons, Thai black rice, and other specialty ingredients. If you have an NYC kitchen, the dry-aged beef is worth the $ …

• Rainbow Room, top floor of Rockefeller Centre. Very expensive, but worth it (once) for the incredible views and impressive history. The cheese plate ($21) is actually pretty good (for the location), and compensates for the high price ($13 glass of wine) of your drinks. Go for a pre-theatre drink and snack. Don’t be confused by the mirrors in the ladies’, and guys should check out the Central Park view in the men’s.

• The Prime Burger: 5 E51st ST. Burgers, rings, pie.

• Kwik Meat: 45 St W of 6th Ave. Indianish streetfood. “Perfect lamb”.

• Bouchon Bakery. Columbus Circle third floor. Frank Bruni recommends the nutter butter cookies.

• *** Sip Sak: 928 Second Avenue, near 49th Street. Cheap Turkish (same chef as Divane, Beyoglu, Efendi. Garden out back.

• Felidia. 243 E 58th btn 2nd & 3rd Aves. Prix-fixe lunch $30 (incl gourmet ham & eggs, PB&J, mac & cheese). Incredible beet salad. Italianish. Owner Lidia Bastianich (tv, books, plus Lupa, Esca, Becco, Eataly), chef Fortunato Nicotra. Chris’ favourite.

• Lounge at Daniel (called Bar Boulud?). 60 East 65th Street, (212) 288-0033. Daniel Boulud’s. Not cheap, but you can say you’ve eaten at Daniel without taking out another mortgage. Good for celebrity spotting. A la carte menu, but no matter what you order supposedly you’ll get one or more “free” amuse-bouche to start, and a sweet to follow, plus fresh madeleines to finish. From the bread basket, the Times says the butter roll is worth the calories. Mains $30s-40s (generous portions); desserts $16 (Times says “ordering one to share will probably impel the kitchen to send out some kind of predessert course before it arrives, and almost certainly a flight of petits fours to follow”). Pre-performance 3 course set menu is $42. Ideal to sit at charcuterie bar.

• Nougatine at Jean Georges. Central Park West, at Columbus Circle; (212) 299-3900. Near Lincoln Center. NY Times said (July 2006): “That one can breeze into Nougatine in the evening most nights and nab a table, no lines and no wait, is just short of amazing. The roomful of empty tables at 6:30 on a recent visit made me wonder not where the patrons of Lincoln Center and the nearby Broadway theaters were eating, but why they weren’t eating here” (presumably the article changed this!) Less formal dining room with the bar, open kitchen and, more frequently than at any other of his restos, Mr. Vongerichten himself. Most entrées $25-28, apps $10-18 (main dining room, exclusively tasting menu, starts at $95). Will split plates for sharing (and serve them on 2 plates)

GROM. Near Columbus Circle, 2165 Broadway). Italian artisinal gelato now available in the US. My 2nd fave in all of Italy. Also at 233 Bleecker. Have thick dark hot chocolate, but don’t serve it in the summer. Next time I’m here in a cooler month I’ll do a comparison with Max Brenner’s.


• Museum Mile: Frick (1 E 70 St), Guggenheim (1071 5th Ave at 89th St) (Guggenheim and Whitney free Friday evenings), Met.

• Metropolitan Museum of Art: Can’t miss. Most comprehensive collection in the western world. Egyptian section incredible, esp Temple of Dendur. Also don’t miss sculpture garden. Shows change frequently. Startling photo exhibits.

• Kitchen Arts & Letters: 1435 Lexington (btn 93 & 94th Sts). Foody bookstore.


BurgerFi. 1571 2nd Ave near 82nd street. Burgers (cheeseburger $6.57), wagu beef hotdogs, onion rings, good fries (which you can order extra crispy, regular or limp – love it!). Concretes (like ShakeShack), custard, and mix your own Coke pop machine. Good service, environmental approach.

• *** Numero 28 Pizzeria Romana. Roman style pizza, artichoke particularly good. Four locations: 28 Carmine (West Village), 176 Second Ave (East Village), 1431 First Ave (Upper East Side), 660 Amsterdam Ave (Upper West Side).

Dos Toros Taqueria. 4 locations: West Village (11 Carmine btn Bleecker & 6th Ave), Union Square (137 4th Ave btn 13&14th Sts), Upper East Side (1111 Lex btn 77&78th Sts), Williamsburg (189 Bedford Ave btn North 6th&7th Sts). San Francisco style tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. Carne asada (grilled steak) taco is piled high with tasty steak, veg, and delicious sauces ($4.13).

H & H Bagel: 1551 2nd Ave. Accept no substitute (but beware of impostors). The original Upper West Side location closed in 2011 and the Hell’s Kitchen bakery in 2012 (tax evasion by one of the owners). The bagels are now sold (under new ownership) at H&H Midtown Bagels East at 1551 2nd Ave btn East 80&81st Sts on the Upper East Side (no, not in Midtown, despite the name). Bagels are often available warm. The plain bagel, not toasted, unadorned if warm or with a shmear (ie cream cheese) is the purist’s choice. They are almost as good as the original.

• La Maison du Chocolat. 1018 Madison btn 78&79. Also at 30 Rockefeller Centre nice cream with intense flavours.

• Saint Ambroeus. 1000 Madison btn 77&78. Italian ice cream. Good prices.

• Better Burger: 1614 2nd Ave @ 84th.

• Agora. 301 East 80th St. Vegetarian Turkish small plates. Don’t miss the zucchini pancakes.


• Cool buildings incl The Dakota (1 W 72nd St; where John Lennon was murdered).

• Metropolitan Opera House.

• American Museum of Natural History: Central Park West @ 79th St. Makes you marvel at the range of beauty on our little planet. Highlights include the bones of Lucy, Star of India, bones of Jumbo the elephant, artifacts of earliest humans (you’ll be amazed how early). Don’t miss the dinosaur or oceans sections (did you have any idea that the blue whale was really that big?!). You have to go into the corners and really look at stuff to appreciate it ….

• Civilized Traveller: 2003 Broadway. Also at 864 Lex.

• Mondel Chocolates: 2913 Broadway. Chocolate animals. Near Columbia U.

• Gracious Home: 1992 Bway @ 67th. Everything you’d need for your NYC apartment.

• Trader Joe’s. Very crowded, but the line moves efficiently. Usually free samples. Well-priced gourmet grocery goodies – famous for salsa, trail mix, nuts for your coffee table, etc. 3 locations: UWS (2073 Broadway), Union Square (142 E 14th St), Flatiron (675 6th Ave).


• Yolato. Forzen yogurt gelato combo. Greenwich Village at 120 Macdougal Street (Bleecker Street). 2nd location Upper West Side 2286 Broadway (82nd Street). Plus 5 more (Chelsea, East Village, Union Square, Carroll Gardens, in Empire State Building).

• *** Numero 28 Pizzeria Romana. Roman style pizza, artichoke particularly good. Four locations: 28 Carmine (West Village), 176 Second Ave (East Village), 1431 First Ave (Upper East Side), 660 Amsterdam Ave (Upper West Side).

• Sarabeth’s 423 Amsterdam at 80th (and 4 other locations). Famous for breakfasts, open for lunch and dinner now too.

• Land. 450 Amsterdam between 81st and 82nd. Fantastic Thai food with fantastic prices. Check out the funky bathroom.

• Zabar’s: 2245 Broadway. Woody Allen’s food store of choice; and upstairs full of good kitchen stuff. Bonne Maman bitter lemon tarts from France $2.75 box. Café next door.

• Monaco. 421 Amsterdam @ 80th. Mediterranean cuisine. Good lemonade. You have better choices in the neighbourhood, but if you’re staying up here (e.g. The Lucerne) and hungry, you could do worse.

• Levain Bakery: 167 W 74 St. Basement hideaway, people come from all over for oatmeal and raisin scones, and for the chocolate chip cookies. Near the Natural History Museum.

• Citarella: 3135 Broadway. Groceries. Especially good fish and meat.

• Columbus Bakery. 474 Columbus Ave. Famous cinnamon buns, but I’ve had (and made) better.

• Grey’s Papaya: 402 6th Ave; 539 8th Ave; 2090 Bway. Famous hotdogs (if you’re actually willing to still eat a hot dog ….). Refreshing juices.

• Estihana. 221 W 79th btn Amsterdam & Broadway. Kosher Japanese. Chicken noodle soup.


• Wander and see what you find. Don’t miss: Bethesda Fountain, the Mall, a walk through the Ramble, model boats at the Conservatory Water, and some of the covered tunnels.

• Central Park Wildlife Centre: for free you can peak at the harbour seals. On a rainy or snowy weekday it shouldn’t be too crowded, so worth the admission to see the polar bears, snow monkeys sitting in their hot tub, penguins, etc. A small but neat zoo.



Amy Ruth’s. 113 W 116th St. Real soul food, great fried chicken. Go hungry.



Carpe Donut truck. Apple cider cake doughnuts served warm. $2.25, 6 for $11.

Van Leeuwen artisan ice cream trucks. 5 butter-yellow trucks. Organic and artisan ice cream. Plus pastries and coffees. Also in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at 632 Manhattan Ave at Bedford.

Le Pain Quotidien and Prèt à Manger (e.g. 42nd at 3rd and at 5th on 42nd). Fresh, yummy, and reasonably priced sandwiches, salads, pastry, etc (for NYC).


• Coney Island: Way far out on the subway, but neat to see. Is being Disneyfied, but still has some edge. People-watch on the pier. Check out the roller coaster, the aquarium, or a baseball game. Nathon’s Famous hot dogs (not sure why they’re so famous, but hey…).

• Williamsburg, the artists’ enclave that’s become Brooklyn’s answer to the East Village. One subway stop from Manhattan.


Marlow & Sons: 81 Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; “café by day, raw bar and small-plates restaurant by night. Communal tables over good olives. Up front is a quasi-organic gourmet general store, stocked by a retail savant”.

• Zenkichi.  77 N 6th at Whyte Ave. Western Williamsburg, near McCarren Park. Modern Japanese authentic izakaya.  Reasonably-priced a la carte, $65 omakase menu.  Outside looks like building made of wooden planks.

• Luksus at Torst.  A hidden 26 seat restaurant behind the beer bar Torst.  Tasting-menu only with exclusive beer menu.  Chef and owner Daniel Burns was at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and at Rene Redzepi’s Noma.

• Gimme! Coffee 495 Lorimer Street (Powers Street), Williamsburg. Artisnal coffee.

La Superior. 295 Berry St @ South 2nd St, Williamsburg. Tacos ($2.50), big quesadillas, gordtas, etc. Great juices. A little disorganized but friendly. Great prices.

Smorgasburg. N 7th St @ Kent Ave, Williamsburg (Saturdays) and DUMBO (Sundays). All sorts of food trucks and kiosks together. Sweets are gathered together furthest from the water. Raman burger seems to be the most popular. But keep your eye out for coal oven pizza, Dough doughnuts (passionfruit with cacao bits!), Balinese chicken wings, and Rockville Market Farms butternut squash doughnut. Spring to late November.

• Blue Collar. 160 Havemeyer St near S. 2nd Street. Williamsburg. Flat top burger with cheese. $4.75.

• Motorino. 139 Broadway at Bedford. Williamsburg. Popular pizza place that closed in 2011 has reopened. Hong Kong location too.

• Bia Bar & Grill. 67 S 6th St, Brooklyn 11211 (Btwn Berry St & Wythe Ave), Williamsburg. Vietnamese. Rooftop patio. Fresh juice cocktails. Friendly.

• Kabob Shack. 182 Havemeyer St (btn 4th St & 3rd St), Williamsburg – South Side. Afghan style kebabs (marinated then broiled).

Dos Toros Taqueria. 189 Bedford btn North 6th&7th Sts. Yummy just like their West Village, Union Square and UES locations.

• Oslo Coffee Company 133-B Roebling Street (North Fourth Street) and 328 Bedford Avenue (South Third Street), Williamsburg, artisnal coffee.

• Café Grumpy 193 Meserole Avenue (Diamond Street), Greenpoint, Brooklyn; Artisnal coffee. Was on my list before it was on Girls.

• Peter Luger’s Steakhouse: 178 Broadway. An institution. Limited menu (and only tourists ask to actually see it). German beerhall setting, brusque service, but that’s the point. Order the porter house dinner for 3 to serve 4 people. Reservations needed. Not the greatest neighbourhood for walking around at night, but getting better all the time. Cash only.

• *** Banana Leaf : 6814 Fourth Avenue (68th Street), Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “Malaysian with bistro influence. Chef Peter How (from KL) cooked in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants, rising to sous-chef at Mercer Kitchen. Menu applies French classic techniques to the melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Thai, southern Indian and Indonesian influences. Many of the dishes skew mild, so ask for spicier seasonings if you crave them”. Appetizers, $1.95 to 11.95; entrees, $4.95 to $22.95; desserts, $2.50 to $4.95.

Jacques Torres. 66 Water St Brooklyn (DUMBO). Chocolate. Shop is next to “factory”.

Van Leeuwen artisan ice cream. Organic and artisan, plus pastries and coffees. Greenpoint, Brooklyn at 632 Manhattan Ave at Bedford. Also 5 trucks in Manhattan.

River Cafe. On the water, near Water St. Dinner, or cocktails and snack. Sit at the bar for the tuna tartare on a hot summer day. Pretty little garden. Post-Hurricane Sandy renos bring a breakfast menu and a chocolate room for desserts (August 2013).

• Grimaldi’s Pizza. 19 Old Fulton St. Coal fired pizza. NYC’s best pizza. No resos, cash only. LIne-ups.

• The General Greene. 229 dekalb ave. Asian-influenced menu, some French classics, a fair amount of pork. Phenomenal desserts. Warm chocolate chip cookies very popular.

• *** Four & Twenty Blackbirds. 439 3rd Avenue. “The best pie in Brooklyn”. Tiny shop selling pie by the slice, or whole pies made to order or until they’re sold out (cash only). Black bottom oatmeal (chocolate crunch), salted caramel apple, lemon chess, blueberry crumble, salty honey, green chili chocolate …. Their pies are on the menus at places like the Whitney, Rucola Restaurant, Lark Cafe, and Table on Ten in Bloomville.

Pok Pok NY. 127 Columbia St near Kane St. Waterfront district, Red Hook / Cobble Hill. Authentic home-style Northern Thai street food (try the mussels; fish sauce chicken wings; lemongrass chicken 1-pot dishes) with cool cocktails. Outdoor patio. Often crowded, reservations now accepted, and there are tables kept for walk-ins (expect a line). Worth it. Monday-Friday 5:30 – 10:00; Saturday and Sunday noon to 10:00. A few doors down is Pok Pok Phat Thai with a more limited menu an open daily from 5:00 to 10:00.

• No 7. 7 Greene Ave @ Fulton St, Fort Greene. Asian – rare tuna with asian pear $10; fab app of fried broccoli, grapefruit and black beans $7, expert hanger steak $20. Great prices.

• *** The Brooklyn Flea. Summer: Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School playground, Lafayette Ave between Clermont & Vanderbitl, Fort Green. Winter: 76 Front St @ Washington in DUMBO (but limited food vending in winter). Crafts, designers, antiques and food, e.g. Vaquero family’s grilled corn, Salvatore Bklyn Ricotta’s cannoli ($3), filled to order with lemon zest or Marsala etc spiked ricotta, Kumquat Cupcakery, Nunu Chocolates, Choice Cafe and Pizza Moto.

Dough. 305 Franklin Ave at Lafayette, in Bedford Stuyvesant. Doughnuts including tropical chili with mango and passionfruit glaze, passionfruit with cacao nibs, and berry glaze (yes, do you see my taste in doughnuts?). Very good, but I think Doughnut Plant’s might just be better.

• Cafeteria La Mejor. 191 Suydam St near Wilson Ave. Bushwick. Cuban coffee (sweet, strong with butter and salt; café con leche $3.75). Pastry. Cubano sandwich $8. Tiny back patio and six-seat counter.

•Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana. 36-08 Ditmars Blvd. Astoria, Queens. Authentic Neapolitan pizza with proper charring $16. Excellent fried calzone $12.

• Lao Cheng Du. 37-17 Prince St. Flushings. Excellent Sichuan. Near another good resto, Spicy and Tasty, also on Prince, if Lao Cheng Du is too busy.

• Barboncini. 781 Franklin Ave near S Johns Place. Crown Heights. Wood oven Naples pizza. Margherita $11.

Gûeros Brooklyn. 605 Prospect Place near Franklin Ave. Crown Heights. Inauthentic but awesome Mexican. House-made tortillas. Ground bed taco w sour cream and cheddar in hard shell. Frozen margaritas $6.


• Bronx Zoo. Easy to get to by subway. A really marvelous zoo. It is worth it to pay extra to see the gorillas – they’re fascinating.


• Forest Hills Spa. 5921 Calloway St, Forest Hills. 3 saunas, pools, jacuzzi. Russian saune, scananavian saunce. Plunge pools. Resto attached. $30.


• Best guitar shops: Rudy’s; Manny’s; Sam Ash’s

• Look for US-only specialty ingredients: Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup. Rose’s sweetened lime juice (NOT lime cordial).

• TKTS: The famous red-and-white booth sells tickets to select Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for 25 or 50 percent off the original price, with a $3 service charge per ticket. The same tickets are sold at both TKTS locations, so no need to hit both. Show up in the early evening — lines are shorter, and additional tickets often go on sale just prior to curtain time. 2010: now accepts credit cards. 47th St. at Broadway: Mon-Sat, 3pm-8pm for evening tickets; Wed, Sat, 10am-2pm for matinee tickets; Sun, 11am-7pm. · South Street Seaport, corner of Front and John Sts., the rear of the Resnick/Prudential Building at 199 Water St.: Mon-Fri, 11am-6pm; Sat, 11am-7pm. At this location, matinee tickets must be bought the day before.


OK prices for Canadians / boutique hotels:


• *** The MAve. (yes, capital A). Madison / Flatiron area. 62 Madison ave at 27th. Free wifi and bfast. 1 block from Madison Square Park. Small rooms (165 sq ft), larger avail. $159

The Strand. $259. Madison / Flatiron area. 33 West 37 St btn 5&6th. Free wifi and good bfast. Rooftop bar. Seafood tapas resto. 24 hr gym.

Fashion 26. Chelsea / Flatiron area, $229. 152 West 26th St btn 6&7th. Free wifi. Medium sized room.

Hotel Indigo. Chelsea / Flatiron area (flower district). $269. 127 West 28th St bfn 6&7th. Intercontinental chain.

The Ace. Madison / Flatiron area. ‎

Hotel Giraffe. Madison / Flatiron area. Boutique.

Hotel Roger Williams. Madison / Flatiron area. Boutique.

• Hotel: Jolly Hotel Madison Towers. 38th & Madison. Bargain. Includes free breakfast at Caffe Buongiorno.

Hotel 414. Hell’s Kitchen. Boutique. @ buildings, with courtyard. Incl bfast. $200.

The Jane. 113 Jane St. Greenwich Village. Most rooms singles, most share baths. Free breakfast. Steamshipy rooms (Titanic survivors stayed here). $79 single.

• Washington Square Hotel. 103 Waverly Place. Inexpensive.

• Chelsea Inn. 46 W 17th St. Inexpensive.

• Hotel 31. 120 E 31 St. Inexpensive.

• Cosmopolitan Hotel. Broadway @ Chambers. TriBeCa. Large rooms with sofa beds.

• 60 Thompson. Soho. Boutique.


• FLATHOTEL. Near Rockefeller Centre. Boutique.

Distrikt. Theatre District. $209. 342 West 40th btn 8&9th. Free wifi. ‎

The Time. Theatre District. Boutique. Lounge is a weekend nightclub.

The Pod Hotel. Midtown near the UN. Some rooms don’t have private bath. Ikea-y, modern. Elevators slow, so request lower floor. $99+.

• Econo Lodge Time Square. West 47th St. Very small rooms, but great shower. Free water & chips from housekeeping. $112.

Salisbury Hotel. S of Central Park. 123 W 57th St.

Park Central Hotel. S of Central Park. 870 7th Ave.

• Buckinhgam. Near Central Park. Has 1B suites with kitchen.

Library Hotel. Midtown, near New York Public Library. Boutique.

Dylan Hotel. Midtown, near New York Public Library & Grand Central. Boutique.

• Mayflower. 15 Central Park W. Moderate.

• Lombardy. 111E 56th St. Moderate.


Hotel Lucerne. Upper West Side. I201 W 79th St at Amsterdam. 1-800-492 8122 or 1.212.875.1000. Nice hotel without outrageous NYC prices. My mum has stayed here several times. Free NY Times delivered to your room (incl Sunday).

• : apartments or rooms.



How to travel in NYC and how to use these field notes


  • Pick a neighbourhood and something you’d like to see in it. While you’re walking around to find it, use these field notes to help pick a street to take, or to find something interesting near by.Hungry? You’ll be safer picking from this list than just picking the restaurant on the corner.
    Some of these restos are destinations, many are just a great place to eat if you happen to be near by.A good website to check out: Slow Food NYC It is “a directory of the restaurants, bars, food and beverage artisans, and stores and markets that, because of their contributions to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food supply of the City of New York, have been awarded the SFNYC Snail of Approval”. Cool!Neighbourhood borders are just an approximation….. trust your map


  • Codes:
  • Bold, italic: I’ve been, and go back regularly.
  • Italic: I’ve been, and thought it good enough to remain on the list.
  • Plain text: I heard about this place from any number of contexts (friend, guidebook, newspaper, etc … ), it sounded good enough to put on the list (interesting and/or good-priced-for-what-it-is, even for Canadians, regardless of exchange rate). No guarantees that it still exists though … while i visit NYC regularly and do web checks for accuracy, my info may be out of date. That’s why your comments are super helpful!
  • *** Planned for my next trip.

Please let me know of corrections and new finds!

Twitter: @TravelEater

One response to “USA: NYC field notes

  1. I think the admin of this website is really working hard in favor of his site, because here every material is quality based material.


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